At the barn where I ride there are several girls who work there. They are young (about my age, 16, 17, 18ish). They are very helpful and help me tack up, groom the horses, and get acquainted with the equipment. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to tip these people. I haven't for the first few lessons. I don't know if other people are tipping them and I don't want to be "that jerk". On the other hand, I don't want to be that weirdo who tries to shove cash in everyone's face.
Do people usually tip these people or not?
No, you don't tip. Saves them from feeling uncomfortable or insulted and having to risk insulting you by declining it.
If any of the girls or ladies I've provided assistance to offered to pay me I'd have laughed and been forced to explain that I wanted to do it because it was needed. If there was going to be money involved they'd be hiring me instead of me coming up and doing it or teaching them how. Even that wouldn't work though. I couldn't take money for helping someone with their horse even when I was offered to be paid. Just said I'd do it at no cost.
There is way too much money being spent in the equine community. It's become a regular industry. I liked the old days when everyone in the area helped out, taught the youngsters the skills needed and there was never any thought of paying. It's still like that with me and two other people I know, but it seems to be out of the norm anymore. I enjoy helping a new person learn how to pick and trim feet or even how to clean the smegma (amazing how many new horse owners don't know about that.....and the looks I get when I'm explain why and showing how to do it
). After all it's really about the horse. I'm helping the horse by helping the owner learn how to take care of it. Why would I want to be paid for helping out those animals. I'd feel worse knowing that by not helping that person I might be partially responsible for the horse having a problem.
Ah, but I digress. Point is horse people should be helping you out. Later, you'll hopefully be doing the same for them or someone else.
If you really feel you must give them a tip here's two.
Buy low and sell high. Don't take any wooden nickels.